There is no state animal of Indiana, although the state does have other official emblems. The cardinal probably comes closest to being the state animal of Indiana, but technically, it is the state bird. While the state animal of Indiana does not currently exist, it is always possible that the state will adopt one in the future. This is because historically, the adoption of state emblems in Indiana has occurred over a long period of time, with the state song being adopted in 1913 and the state river in 1996.
State emblems, also called state symbols, are established to represent what makes a certain state special. As such, there are many different types of state emblems and not all states will adopt the same type of symbol. For example, there is no state animal of Indiana, but the state animal of California is the grizzly bear. At the same time, there is currently no state poem of California, but there is a state poem of Indiana. In general, to adopt a state emblem, it must first be proposed in a bill, passed by the state’s senate and assembly, and then signed by the governor.
The 1933 General Assembly in Indiana adopted the cardinal as the state bird. Among many other places, the cardinal lives in Indiana all year long. The male cardinal is bright red in color while the female is brown in color with red on its crest, wings and tail; each season, the female cardinal lays between two to four eggs, which are bluish-white in color with brown markings. The cardinal is a common bird and is actually not only the official state bird of Indiana, but also of six other states including Illinois, Kentucky and North Carolina. Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia are the other three.
In addition to having a state bird, Indiana has 11 other state emblems such as the more common state flag, flower and seal, as well as nickname. Also, Indiana has a state river, stone and tree. There's a state motto, poem and song — there's also an official state language. These emblems were all adopted in different years by the Indiana General Assembly. Interestingly, the state flag, which used to be called a banner, was designed as part of a competition, and the state flower, which was originally the zinnia, was later changed to the peony.